Saturday, October 22, 2005


[In case you are just tuning in, you might want to start with Cave Canem Part I – The Bitch Is Back. No pressure, just a suggestion.]

...So I brought home a damp and chastened houseguest.

After her March of Misery, crossing the threshold of our back door cheered Ursula up tremendously. For one, the sky wasn’t yelling at her anymore. For another, I hadn’t yelled at her since the sidewalk. But best of all, there -- in the corner of the dining room -- was another dog. Ursula loves other dogs. At the Inconsistent-But-Fun domecile she’d just left, she had a best friend in the adjacent yard -- a year-old golden retriever with whom she would spend hours on end alternately chasing, barking and chewing on each other’s legs.

This isn’t what I look for in a friendship but I’m sure Ursula doesn’t want to get a pedicure and speculate about the hidden flaws of famous people, so we’re even.

When Ursula spotted our dog, she saw something like a life jacket in a fur coat. So what if the humans seem to be trying to deprogram me from a cult, she thought. I’ve got a dog buddy here and it’ll be all chasing, barking, leg-chewing heaven from now on!

In a single leap, she crossed the room, landed next to our dog’s bed, stuck her butt in the air and barked excitedly. Our dog opened one eye and scowled. Some…thing had dared awaken her from one of her more critical naps of the afternoon?

Ursula waited a beat for our dog to take off from her bed and sprint around the room. When this didn’t happen, she barked louder.

Our dog curled one third of her upper lip and growled warningly.

Ursula dropped to the ground in a submissive pose and wagged her tail furiously while barking repeatedly.

Our dog took this as an invitation to flatten her ears against her head and growl more threateningly.

Since ours is a dog Consort has described (accurately) as “The farting doorstop”, I didn’t think they would be workout buddies, but I was hoping Ursula’s puppyish ways might endear her to my dog. What it actually resembled was as if Bea Arthur was forced to share a studio apartment with a Teletubbie.

[Oh, that’s good. I’m pitching that to the WB].

Ursula took all of this to be some strange game where an elderly dog pretends to despise her until that magical moment when they find themselves sharing the same dog bed, chewing on each other. In order to expedite the fun, Ursula put her paw on my dog’s bed.

Let me explain the relationship my dog has with her bed. First of all, she has a relationship with it, and it isn’t wholesome. Whenever the stink gets too bad and we wash it, she hovers next to the washer and hyperventilates. After it’s cleaned and put back in place, she carefully takes it in her teeth and mounts it for a few minutes. I can only hope that, on some level, the bed is consenting to this. The fact is, in order of affection, my dog loves: her bed; her bed; eating things that aren’t food; standing next to Consort before passing gas; and her bed. In a distant sixth position, she kind of likes us.

And this dog is currently staring at the paw of a hyperactive interloper defiling her precious bed.

She moved with a speed that belied her years and her arthritis. Chasing Ursula to a corner of the room, she leaned in to Ursula’s face and barked something along the lines of:


She then went back to her bed, mounted it a few times to reestablish equilibrium, and turned her back to the world to resume her nap.

Ursula, confused and intrigued by this game, bounced after her, nudged her out of the way, and sat on the bed. She then grinned broadly and stuck her butt in the air. At that point, I had decided to let them work it out, but stayed nearby in case my dog reached for a shiv hidden under her dish.

For a beat, my dog just goggled at this prancing idiot. Then she charged. Ursula obligingly bounded directly towards her, barking in glee. Neatly, my dog avoided the oncoming Ursula, slipped past her, and threw herself on the bed. She didn’t even take the time to mount the bed, but flattened herself against it while simultaneously biting at Ursula’s feet.

Ursula wasn’t frightened as much as pleased with the attention. It was obvious this could go on all night, or until my dog had a complete nervous collapse and ate her bed in an attempt to keep it away from Ursula. I called sweetly to Ursula, “Ursula, COME!”

She bounded up to me and attempted once again to jump on me. I commanded sharply, “SIT!” Ursula froze in her tracks. From the corner of my eye, I noticed something I had never before seen on my dog’s face – a wicked smirk.

I led Ursula into the laundry room where I had set up her crate. Mercifully, from the day we rescued her, she’s always been perfectly crate-friendly. She might go through two Ferragamos and a screen door in one afternoon, but she would withdraw into her crate at night without a peep. I led her into her crate and was about to secure the latch. It was at this exact moment that our cat, Lulabelle, sashayed in the back door. I don’t know what big issue she was pondering as she entered the room but she certainly wasn’t paying attention to her surroundings. Her first clue there was a new dog in the house was the brown torpedo heading directly for her, barking in ecstasy. Turns out, unlike many dogs, Ursula loves cats.

Adores them, in fact.

In a perfect feline spasm, Lulabelle leapt straight in the air and landed on the washing machine, resembling nothing so much as a mink blowfish. Ursula whined, pawed and barked up at her, hopping on her hind legs to get even closer to her new best friend.

That went over well. It also went on for quite a while because I had grasped Ursula’s collar so she couldn’t make Lulabelle a friendship bracelet or braid Lulabelle’s hair or something. This meant I couldn’t move the cat out of the room. The cat wasn’t going to move on her own because she still hadn’t sunk her claw into Ursula’s eye and that was the only thing which would make her feel better right now. I finally had to bellow for Consort who, for some unimaginable reason, had hidden himself in the garage.

Next: the Final Chapter -- Someone is seduced by Ursula’s charms. It’s not the cat.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Quinn, I'm loving this story! But, I am stunned to read the final teaser line.

I thought that it would all work out...somehow.


oh well...if your dog is a female, she might have never accepted Ursula, so it is probably for the best.

What kind of dog is your dog?

( I applaud your attempts to rescue Ursula and make her a better dog)

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While my dog wasn't a foundling, she does share the love of eating shoes. To date I have lost:

1. 20 pair (yes, that was TWENTY PAIR) of shoes.. for some reason, all mine and none my husband's.

2. Two baseball caps (naturally Spouse's favorites).

3. The legs off of a 100 year old collector doll that was a family heirloom (how I let the dog live, speaks to the amazing power of a dog's mournful stare).

4. Spouse's Christmas gift slippers, eaten on December 26.

5. 1 Cordless phone

6. 2 Rosebushes WITH THORNS

7. An entire irrigation system in the backyard.

But Dang if she isn't adorable! Plus, she was here before Infant who she decided was her baby and of whom she is very protective... so Dog stays put with us.

8:46 PM  

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